Astroball: The New Way to Win It All

Penguin Random House Audio

Narrated by Ben Reiter

7 hr 51 min

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

When Sports Illustrated declared on the cover of a June 2014 issue that the Houston Astros would win the World Series in 2017, people thought Ben Reiter, the article’s author, was crazy. The Astros were the worst baseball team in half a century, but they were more than just bad. They were an embarrassment, a club that didn’t even appear to be trying to win. The cover story, combined with the specificity of Reiter’s claim, met instant and nearly universal derision. But three years later, the critics were proved improbably, astonishingly wrong. How had Reiter predicted it so accurately? And, more important, how had the Astros pulled off the impossible?

Astroball is the inside story of how a gang of outsiders went beyond the stats to find a new way to win—and not just in baseball. When new Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and his top analyst, the former rocket scientist Sig Mejdal, arrived in Houston in 2011, they had already spent more than half a decade trying to understand how human instinct and expertise could be blended with hard numbers such as on-base percentage and strikeout rate to guide their decision-making. In Houston, they had free rein to remake the club. No longer would scouts, with all their subjective, hard-to-quantify opinions, be forced into opposition with the stats guys. Instead, Luhnow and Sig wanted to correct for the biases inherent in human observation, and then roll their scouts’ critical thoughts into their process. The numbers had value—but so did the gut.

The strategy paid off brilliantly, and surprisingly quickly. It pointed the Astros toward key draft picks like Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman; offered a path for developing George Springer, José Altuve, and Dallas Keuchel; and showed them how veterans like Carlos Beltrán and Justin Verlander represented the last piece in the puzzle of fielding a championship team.

Sitting at the nexus of sports, business, and innovation—and written with years of access to the team’s stars and executives—Astroball is the story of the next wave of thinking in baseball and beyond, at once a remarkable underdog story and a fascinating look at the cutting edge of evaluating and optimizing human potential.
Read more
Collapse
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin Random House Audio
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Jul 10, 2018
Read more
Collapse
Duration
7h 51m 0s
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9780525641360
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Business & Economics / Leadership
Sports & Recreation / Baseball / History
Sports & Recreation / Coaching / Baseball
Read more
Collapse
Export option
Read more
Collapse
Eligible for Family Library

Listening information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to listen online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can listen to audiobooks purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

The former ESPN columnist and analytics pioneer dramatically recreates an action-packed 2017 game between the Oakland A’s and eventual World Series Champion Houston Astros to reveal the myriad ways in which Major League Baseball has changed over the last few decades.

On September 8, 2017, the Oakland A’s faced off against the Houston Astros in a game that would signal the passing of the Moneyball mantle. Though this was only one regular season game, the match-up of these two teams demonstrated how Major League Baseball has changed since the early days of Athletics general manager Billy Beane and the publication of Michael Lewis’ classic book.

Over the past twenty years, power and analytics have taken over the game, driving carefully calibrated teams like the Astros to victory. Seemingly every pitcher now throws mid-90s heat and studiously compares their mechanics against the ideal. Every batter in the lineup can crack homers and knows their launch angles. Teams are relying on unorthodox strategies, including using power-losing—purposely tanking a few seasons to get the best players in the draft.

As he chronicles each inning and the unfolding drama as these two teams continually trade the lead—culminating in a 9-8 Oakland victory in the bottom of the ninth—Neyer considers the players and managers, the front office machinations, the role of sabermetrics, and the current thinking about what it takes to build a great team, to answer the most pressing questions fans have about the sport today.

Former Major League pitcher and mental skills coach for two of baseball's legendary franchises (the Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants) Bob Tewksbury takes fans inside the psychology of baseball.

In Ninety Percent Mental, Bob Tewksbury shows readers a side of the game only he can provide, given his singular background as both a longtime MLB pitcher and a mental skills coach for two of the sport's most fabled franchises, the Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants. Fans watching the game on television or even at the stadium don't have access to the mind games a pitcher must play in order to get through an at-bat, an inning, a game. Tewksbury explores the fascinating psychology behind baseball, such as how players use techniques of imagery, self-awareness, and strategic thinking to maximize performance, and how a pitcher's strategy changes throughout a game. He also offers an in-depth look into some of baseball's most monumental moments and intimate anecdotes from a "who's who" of the game, including legendary players who Tewksbury played with and against (such as Mark McGwire, Craig Biggio, and Greg Maddux), game-changing managers and executives (Joe Torre, Bruce Bochy, Brian Sabean), and current star players (Jon Lester, Anthony Rizzo, Andrew Miller, Rich Hill).

With Tewksbury's esoteric knowledge as a thinking-fan's player and his expertise as a "baseball whisperer", this entertaining book is perfect for any fan who wants to see the game in a way he or she has never seen it before. Ninety Percent Mental will deliver an unprecedented look at the mound games and mind games of Major League Baseball.
What is an elite NFL QB and what separates that player from the others? One answer is the coach they share. In the recent history of the biggest game on earth, one man is the common thread that connects several of the very best in the sport: Peyton Manning; Ben Roethlisberger; Andrew Luck; and the resurgent Carson Palmer. That coach is Bruce Arians.

A larger than life visionary who trained under the tutelage of Bear Bryant, Arians has had a major impact on the development and success of each of these players. For proof beyond the stats, go to the sources.

Bruce is gonna love you when you need some loving, but he's gonna jump on you when you're not doing right. - Peyton Manning

He coaches the way players want to be coached. - Ben Roethlisberger

He made players comfortable around him and let everybody have their own personality. He didn't force anybody to be someone they weren't. It may sound a little corny or cheesy, but there's merit to that. I felt comfortable being myself and I felt he had my back. - Andrew Luck

We're a resilient group. It trickles down from the head coach. I think good teams, really good teams, and hopefully great teams take on their coach's mentality. I think that's what B.A. brings... - Carson Palmer

Known around the game as the 'quarterback whisperer', Arians has an uncanny ability to both personally connect with his quarterbacks and to locate what the individual triggers are for that player to succeed. No two quarterbacks are the same. And yet with Arians they always share success. In this book Arians will explain how he does it.
The New York Times Bestseller

With inside access and reporting, Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer and FOX Sports analyst Tom Verducci reveals how Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon built, led, and inspired the Chicago Cubs team that broke the longest championship drought in sports, chronicling their epic journey to become World Series champions.

It took 108 years, but it really happened. The Chicago Cubs are once again World Series champions. 

How did a team composed of unknown, young players and supposedly washed-up veterans come together to break the Curse of the Billy Goat? Tom Verducci, twice named National Sportswriter of the Year and co-writer of The Yankee Years with Joe Torre, will have full access to team president Theo Epstein, manager Joe Maddon, and the players to tell the story of the Cubs' transformation from perennial underachievers to the best team in baseball. 

Beginning with Epstein's first year with the team in 2011, Verducci will show how Epstein went beyond "Moneyball" thinking to turn around the franchise. Leading the organization with a manual called "The Cubs Way," he focused on the mental side of the game as much as the physical, emphasizing chemistry as well as statistics. 

To accomplish his goal, Epstein needed manager Joe Maddon, an eccentric innovator, as his counterweight on the Cubs' bench.  A man who encourages themed road trips and late-arrival game days to loosen up his team, Maddon mixed New Age thinking with Old School leadership to help his players find their edge.  

The Cubs Way takes readers behind the scenes, chronicling how key players like Rizzo, Russell, Lester, and Arrieta were deftly brought into the organization by Epstein and coached by Maddon to outperform expectations. Together, Epstein and Maddon proved that clubhouse culture is as important as on-base-percentage, and that intangible components like personality, vibe, and positive energy are necessary for a team to perform to their fullest potential. 

Verducci chronicles the playoff run that culminated in an instant classic Game Seven. He takes a broader look at the history of baseball in Chicago and the almost supernatural element to the team's repeated loses that kept fans suffering, but also served to strengthen their loyalty.  

The Cubs Way is a celebration of an iconic team and its journey to a World Championship that fans and readers will cherish for years to come.

Includes a bonus PDF of Joe Maddon’s World Series Game 7 Lineup Card
St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny's New York Times bestselling manifesto about what parents, coaches, and athletes get wrong about sports; what we can do better; and how sports can teach eight keys to success in sports and life.
 
Mike Matheny was just forty-one, without professional managerial experience and looking for a next step after a successful career as a Major League catcher, when he succeeded the legendary Tony La Russa as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. While Matheny has enjoyed immediate success, leading the Cards to the postseason four times in his first four years−a Major League record−people have noticed something else about his life, something not measured in day-to-day results. Instead, it’s based on a frankly worded letter he wrote to the parents of a Little League team he coached, a cry for change that became an Internet sensation and eventually a “manifesto.”
 
The tough-love philosophy Matheny expressed in the letter contained his throwback beliefs that authority should be respected, discipline and hard work rewarded, spiritual faith cultivated, family made a priority, and humility considered a virtue. In The Matheny Manifesto, he builds on his original letter by first diagnosing the problem at the heart of youth sports−it starts with parents and coaches−and then by offering a hopeful path forward. Along the way, he uses stories from his small-town childhood as well as his career as a player, coach, and manager to explore eight keys to success: leadership, confidence, teamwork, faith, class, character, toughness, and humility. 
 
From “The Coach Is Always Right, Even When He’s Wrong” to “Let Your Catcher Call the Game,” Matheny’s old-school advice might not always be popular or politically correct, but it works. His entertaining and deeply inspirational book will not only resonate with parents, coaches, and athletes, it will also be a powerful reminder, from one of the most successful new managers in the game, of what sports can teach us all about winning on the field and in life.

One of the most inspirational stories of sports and faith ever told, The Chicken Runs at Midnight introduces us to a Major League baseball coach whose dying daughter's words changed his heart for good - and reached him in a surprising way through a World Series sign from heaven.

As a Major League Baseball coach, Rich Donnelly was dedicated, hardworking, and successful. But as a husband and father, he was distant, absent, and a failure. He'd let baseball take over his life, and as a result his family suffered. That is, until one day his daughter called with harrowing news.

"Dad, I have a brain tumor, and I'm sorry." These words from his seventeen-year-old daughter, Amy, turned his world upside-down. Now, more than ever, he was determined to put his family first.

The time they spent together in the months before her death will be treasured and remembered forever, but especially the inside joke that became a catchphrase for the Donnelly family as well as the Pittsburgh Pirates team that played in the National League Championship Series that year: "The chicken runs at midnight."

This book shares the heartwarming story behind the odd catchphrase - and how it still lives on as a symbol for never giving up—and proves that God can work in the life of any person, even through their mistakes and failures.

Weaving baseball history with personal memoir, this book is one that will make you thrill to victory, believe in hope, stand up to cheer for what is good in peoples' lives. It's a powerful story of redemption and faith that reminds us that God can work in our lives even when we think it's too late to change - and sometimes He sends us signs from heaven if we only have eyes to see.

©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.